Leaving New York society and its stringent proprieties behind, Emma Evangeline Carlisle flees West by stagecoach. Determined to write an adventure novel, she is eager to experience every aspect of the West she has always read about, from drinking whiskey and chewing tobacco to shooting pistols and playing poker. Dead Dog, New Mexico is a dream come true.

Connor Morgan has also left something behinda painful past filled with memories of war and betrayal. Convinced he deserves nothing less, he lives his life as a wastrel, operating a saloon and consorting with wild women.

When exuberant Evie and her ankle-biting dog burst upon the scene, Connor is enchanted in spite of himself. While any one can tell Evie is a true lady, her love for life and unassuming nature call to him like a siren song. With Evie, he can nearly forget the heartache of the past. Until it comes back to haunt him.

Fresh and fun, these characters and their snappy dialogue provide a great romp. While the plot is familiar and tends to flounder slightly in places, this character-driven story is a satisfying read. (Apr., 253 pp., $2.99) (Note: Precious Gem romances are available exclusively at Wal*mart)

Reviewed by: 
April Redmon